Reporters on the Job
• Taxi Turncoat: While reporting on Islamists in northern Iraq, Kurds kept telling staff writer Scott Peterson that the series of Al Qaeda and other militant arrests has prompted a state of alert in Kurdistan. Scott's appreciation of this point deepened when he and his interpreter visited a mosque at the end of one day, with camera in hand, to speak to the Imam.
His taxi driver took him to a large mosque, where Scott hoped that the interior would yield interesting pictures after dark.
"But the driver was a troublemaker and tried to overcharge us," says Scott, who instead paid the standard rate. "But the driver wasn't finished with us. We weren't in the mosque more than 10 minutes, when three soldiers were at the door - with the taxi driver - demanding to see my camera and documents."
Scowling because an attempted rip-off had lead to an unwarranted tip-off, Scott gave the soldiers his Kurdish Ministry of Interior press card, and went back inside to photograph, before prayers finished. No one stopped him.
• Too Much TV? Journalism in Egypt during Ramadan always presents unique challenges, says correspondent Charles Levinson. "Everyone gets off work early, is tied up for the evening feast, then stays up late at night and gets into work late in the morning. Almost everyone is hungry and tired and thus irritable. Foreign journalists with mangled Arabic are the last people they want to talk to," he says. Those who follow the Ramadan TV serials spend their evenings juggling TV programs. Merlin Dick, a researcher in Beirut interviewed for the story, told Charles he was exhausted from watching so much TV.
David Clark Scott